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Just in time for Valentine's Day is encouraging news about the benefits of feeling loved, if even just for a moment or two each day. In two studies published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers found that people who experience higher levels of "felt love"--moments of love and connection in everyday life--also reported higher levels of psychological wellbeing. The researchers defined psychological wellbeing as feelings of purpose and optimism, among other positive emotional factors. Higher felt-love levels were also associated with higher extraversion personality scores. Extraversion is a personality trait that means you are outgoing, friendly, cheerful and energetic in social situations. In the study, people with lower levels of felt love had lower extraversion scores and, were more likely to show signs of neuroticism. Researchers took a broad view of encounters or moments that might qualify as felt love. A neighbor expressing concern for your wellbeing, for example, could resonate with you and be received as a feeling of love. The same is true for a best friend sending a "thinking of you" text message. Interestingly, as the study progressed and participants became more aware of moments of kindness and concern in their everyday lives, they started to interpret more encounters in a positive way and as examples of felt love. This, in turn, boosted their sense of psychological wellbeing. The implication is that raising awareness of felt love may itself be an intervention that then raises actual feelings of felt love over a longer period of time.

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Publication:Mind, Mood & Memory
Date:Jan 30, 2020
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